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New Release: Jaime by Brittany Howard

Kristina Blagojev | Posted on September 25, 2019

Brittany Howard posing on a mountain

shot by Brantley Gutierrez

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Brittany Howard, of Grammy award-winning band Alabama Shakes, has released her first solo project: an album entitled Jaime. Named after Howard’s deceased sister, Jaime is an album done on the singer’s own terms. While in Alabama Shakes, the band normally stuck with genres like southern and blues-rock. While it is evident that these influences are still clear in her debut, Howard definitely leans into a more refined and modern sound that makes the whole album playable not only at rowdy bars, but also at a relaxing coffee shop. The duality in both, however, makes it overall a very hipster-friendly album.

New Release: Jaime by Brittany Howard

album art for Jaime by Brittany Howard

courtesy of Brittany Howard

An immediate standout is the single Stay High, which has a softer and more jazz sounding approach than most of the other songs. In the style of a crooner, Howard sings about how, with her partner, after a long day of work you can still play around and be mischievous. There is no reason to be solely serious. The greatest part of the song, however, is the harmony sung by the background singers. It provides an extra step of emotional depth and fullness that would not be present had there been no backing vocals.

Another crooner song is Short and Sweet, which definitely portrays Howard’s range both vocally and lyrically. In the style of great songwriters like Adele and Andra Day, Howard writes for Apple Music that this song is about “…the beginning of a relationship when you’re kind of assuming it’s not going to work out. You’re saying, ‘All right, let me just enjoy this and be present without putting too much pressure on anything’.” And although the song is not actually short, it does feel so when it ends because of how drippingly sweet Howard sings her feelings.

The song 13th Century Metal actually does not sound like modern metal music at all. In fact, a majority of the song is spoken word over an instrumental that sounds as if it combines the electronic and soft rock genres. Metal, as we know it today, is usually comprised of raging riffs from guitars and intense drum beats. Although the music may not be considered metal, the words Howard speaks would be considered metal for the 13th century. Howard says, “We are brothers and sisters, each and every one//I promise to love my enemy//And never become that which is not God.” To be metal is to practice difference when everything and everyone is the exact same. Hence why the idea of loving your enemy as if they were yourself is such a metal concept for the 13th century — it just didn’t happen then.

New Release: Jaime by Brittany Howard

This album will be remembered for years to come. It truly has gems that are just waiting to be discovered by people who have never listened to Howard or her band before. Jaime is an album that you should play for your kids, your friends, your parents, your grandparents, and just about everyone in between.

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